Otago Daily Times

What comes as stan­dard?

- Tech · Cars · Consumer Goods · Toyota · Toyota Motor Corporation · CarPlay · Android

Over­all: ★★★★

De­sign & styling: ★★★★

In­te­rior: ★★★★

Per­for­mance: ★★★

Ride & han­dling: ★★★+

Safety: Not yet tested

En­vi­ron­men­tal: ★★★★

SPEC­I­FI­CA­TIONS

Price: $25,990

En­gine: 1.5­litre fuel­in­jected petrol three­cylin­der, max­i­mum power 88kW, max­i­mum torque 145Nm

Trans­mis­sion: Con­stantly vari­able au­to­matic, front­wheel drive

Brakes & sta­bil­ity sys­tems: Front disc and rear drum brakes, ABS, ACA, BSM, BA, EBD, TRC, VSC

Wheels & tyres: Steel rims/al­loy wheels, 185/60 R15

Fuel & econ­omy: Un­leaded, 4.9 litres/ 100km, ca­pac­ity 40 litres

Emis­sions: 114g CO2/km on com­bined cy­cle

Di­men­sions: Length 3940mm, width 1695mm, height 1500mm be­tween the main ana­logue di­als.

Rake and reach steer­ing wheel ad­just­ment is pro­vi­sioned. Trimmed in fab­ric with lightly pat­terned cush­ions, the front seats are com­fort­able and sup­port­ive, and the driv­ers’ seat ad­justs for height. Helped by the Yaris’s com­pact di­men­sions and pil­lar lay­out, vis­i­bil­ity from the front of the cabin is very good.

The rear of the cabin is ad­e­quate rather than spec­tac­u­lar in terms of space and taller peo­ple may find them­selves wish­ing for a shade more head and knee room.

Boot space, at 286­litres, is sim­i­larly ad­e­quate and all but iden­ti­cal to the pre­vi­ous model, al­though the cargo area fea­tures a handy vari­able­height boot floor.

Hats off to Toy­ota for putting safety first when it comes to equip­ment lev­els on the Yaris range. Even the GX takes adap­tive radar cruise con­trol and lane­keeping as­sist, and its pre­col­li­sion and ac­ci­dent avoid­ance sys­tem in­cludes au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing, pedestrian and cy­clist de­tec­tion and in­ter­sec­tion turn as­sist. Auto dip­ping head­lights, a re­vers­ing cam­era, speed sign recog­ni­tion and dis­play are also pro­vided, and the airbag suite in­cludes a cen­tre aisle airbag that de­ploys be­tween the driver and front pas­sen­ger in a side­on im­pact.

The tech­nol­ogy suite is also sub­stan­tially im­proved, no­tably through the in­clu­sion of Ap­ple CarPlay and An­droid Auto smart­phone in­te­gra­tion.

While not state­of­the­art in terms of func­tion­al­ity or graph­ics, the touch­screen sys­tem works well enough. Wire­less con­nec­tiv­ity is straight­for­ward, but the pro­vi­sion of just one USB plugin point seems a lit­tle stingy. The six­speaker sound sys­tem pro­vides ac­cept­able au­dio qual­ity, and the sin­gle­zone man­ual air­con­di­tion­ing is en­tirely ad­e­quate, too.

While the GX is cer­tainly well ap­pointed for an en­try level model, the pre­mium GR model car­ries plenty of ex­tra kit. Its ad­di­tional items in­clude 16­inch al­loys, LED head­lights, blind­spot mon­i­tor­ing, front and rear park­ing sen­sors, push but­ton start, fully dig­i­tal in­stru­ment clus­ter, a head­up dis­play, cli­mate con­trol, satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion and a leather­rimmed steer­ing wheel. dis­tance driv­ing, the test car dis­patched the open­road seg­ment of the test route in a thor­oughly com­pe­tent man­ner. Its adap­tive radar cruise con­trol was sim­ple to ac­ti­vate and ef­fec­tive in op­er­a­tion, as was the lane­keeping sys­tem. Rel­a­tively high noise lev­els on coarse­chip sur­faces and the per­for­mance and re­fine­ment lim­i­ta­tions of a mod­est­ly­pow­er­ful en­gine and CVT trans­mis­sion are the GX’s two open­road mi­nuses.

Thread­ing this new Yaris through the twists and turns of a wind­ing tar­mac back­road is also a far more re­ward­ing ex­pe­ri­ence than one might ex­pect. It is cer­tainly no sports car, and nor is it ob­jec­tively quick, but within the lim­its im­posed by a sus­pen­sion set for ride com­fort, the GX petrol car han­dles pretty well.

An easy and ac­cu­rate re­spon­sive­ness to steer­ing in­puts and an abil­ity to main­tain dy­namic com­po­sure speak vol­umes for the qual­ity of the TNGA plat­form. As well as help­ing make this GX Yaris sur­pris­ing fun to drive briskly, this sug­gests the up­com­ing and far more po­tent turbo four­wheel drive Yaris GR could be a very spe­cial ma­chine.

Last and not least, a note on econ­omy. The petrol Yaris is rated at 4.9l/100km, com­pared to 3.3l/100km for the hybrid. I man­aged 5.3l/100km on test.

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